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Illycaffè organized a case study of the coffee supply chain  to promote sustainable development in Trieste

Illycaffè organized a case study of the coffee supply chain to promote sustainable development in Trieste

July 03 - 2024

Coffee Geography Magazine


"The Role of Education and Professional Training: The Case Study of the Coffee Supply Chain to Promote Sustainable Development," organized by illycaffè and the Fondazione Ernesto Illy, marked the opening of the G7 Ministerial Meeting on Education in Trieste, chaired by Minister Giuseppe Valditara. 

The meeting focused on the value of training as a tool to combat climate change and poverty. Attendees included Giuseppe Valditara (Minister of Education and Merit), Gerardo Patacconi (Head of Operations of the International Coffee Organization), Tidiane Ouattara (Representative of the African Union), Andrea Illy (President of illycaffè), Andrea De Marco (Industrial Development Expert & Project Manager of UNIDO), Stefania Giannini (Deputy Director General of UNESCO for Education), Laura Frigenti (CEO of the Global Partnership for Education), and Fernanda Maria Roche Soares dos Santos (Counselor of the Embassy of Brazil). 

The coffee market, already highly volatile and characterized by inadequate access to credit and low investment propensity, is now facing the compounded effects of climate change and a shortage of young labor. These factors make coffee communities extremely vulnerable. Education and training are essential to ensure the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of coffee producers.

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"Education is a key factor in achieving the objectives of resilience, environmental sustainability, added value, circularity of the value chain, and support for the families of coffee producers, as indicated in the declaration of the G7 summit in Puglia," said Andrea Illy during the event. "Climate change, which puts more than 50 percent of arable land at risk, necessitates a significant improvement in agronomic practices and, consequently, in the skills and capabilities of farmers. Furthermore, education is known to be the first and most effective action to combat poverty, a major issue affecting coffee growing. Much of the knowledge on coffee supply chains is produced in Trieste, and for over 25 years, illy, through the Università del Caffè (University of Coffee), has been engaged in technology transfer in 23 countries, connecting producers and consumers. We are particularly honored to represent a case study to the world's leading institutions." 

The Università del Caffè, illy's training center, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, creates value through training activities and awareness-raising actions aimed at fostering a sustainable coffee supply chain that respects the environment and biodiversity, promotes employability and entrepreneurship among young people, and strengthens dialogue and cooperation between various actors in the coffee sector. While training is the underlying theme of every activity and forms the basis for the development of coffee communities, the Fondazione Ernesto Illy addresses specific local needs with projects aimed at mitigating and preventing social problems and promoting the well-being of local communities. Many countries, for example, lack effective social infrastructure, and minors are sometimes not sufficiently protected. The Fondazione Ernesto Illy supports the construction of schools, educational services, and healthcare for the children of coffee workers.

"About a third of the over 4.9 billion people who live in coffee-producing countries are aged between 15 and 34 years," Gerardo Patacconi noted. "Only by filling the gaps in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in these countries, investing in young people, and reducing gender gaps and gaps in access to knowledge and technologies, will it be possible to effectively address the threats that characterize the global coffee supply chain: climate change and low farmers' income. As the ICO, the World Coffee Organization, with 75 member governments from coffee-producing and consuming countries, and integrating the industry through a task force, we are convinced that only by promoting good practices through training and investments in education via public-private models can we overcome the challenge of sustainability in the sector, ensure the well-being of producers and all operators in the supply chain, and respond to the demands of the millions of us who consume around 3 billion cups of coffee every day." 

The recognition in the final declaration of the G7 in Puglia of support for a public-private initiative to promote policies and allocate resources aimed at increasing the value of the circular coffee economy and supporting small producers encourages the industry to continue its commitment alongside institutions, positioning itself as a key actor in the transfer of know-how and technical assistance to producing countries, essential pillars for creating a sustainable economy.